“What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”

For me, HBS almost ended before it even started.

When I left the military the summer before moving to Boston I felt lost, disconnected, and hopeless.  Later I would discover that I suffered from depression and service-related post-traumatic stress disorder, but I didn’t know it back then.  All I knew was that Harvard Business School was the last thing on my mind, a place that seemed surreal and out of reach.  The only reason I even made it to move-in weekend was because of my loving and supportive parents.  I remember my father telling me that weekend, as we stared at raindrops sliding down a coffee shop window:  “We really want to come back in two years to see you graduate, you know."

Life is dynamic.  So is my changed perspective.

One month later I'm at a noisy gathering – busy, bustling, lights.  "You don't talk much," I'm told.  Funny how he has no idea what’s going on with me.  Amidst a crowd of friends and strangers, smiles and stares, I now remind myself – everyday – that pain and struggle can be found in places where they are least expected.  We won’t ever know unless we become still enough to notice, and courageous enough to ask.

I will be humble and I will be still.  I will do my best to notice those hidden calls for help, no matter how big or small, and I will ask.  I will open my arms and I will listen, because there were people who did the same for me: like a man coincidentally named Phoenix, from the ashes, who smiled at me one sunny day and reassured me it was going to be ok.  I will tell those who feel troubled this:

"It will get better.

"I believe adaptation begins with neither strength nor courage, but a willingness to completely surrender to what is.  I adapted by learning to accept and learning to let go.  I started by giving to others what I felt I was lacking... and I was surprised at how quickly my empty suddenly became full.

"Most of all, I overcame it.  You can too."

I will tell them I am ready.  I will tell them I am stronger.  And I will tell them how much I smiled at my parents when I walked across the stage to receive my HBS degree.

— Marla Metz